No Air Conditioning; UT Suffers Heat Stroke

By: Kelli Parker
By: Kelli Parker

Knoxville (WVLT) - The extreme heat is causing extreme problems for students at UT living in dorm rooms with no air conditioning.

Freshman student Hope Lohmueller is recovering after suffering a heat stroke in her dorm room where temperatures are reaching 97 degrees inside. Now, her mother wants answers, not just for her daughter, but also for the 200 other girls still living in the conditions.

"She said don't worry mom, I'm fine, but I just got home from the emergency room," mother Mary Anne Lohmueller said.

Less than a week after Mary Anne Lohmueller moved her daughter Hope into Strong Hall, her world is turned upside down.

"She said I didn't pass out, and I said well what did happen, and she said I could hear things, but couldn't open my eyes, I couldn't see things, people were talking to me and saying things to me," Lohmueller said.

Hope was then rushed to the emergency room where doctors diagnosed her problem. A heat stroke. Her mother rushes here from Ohio and finds Hope is sleeping in a dorm room where we found temperatures today of nearly 97 degrees.

"In 10, 12, 14, 15 days, how many other kids may be injured or hurt? This is inexcusable," Lohmueller said. "I was appalled that we would drop her off at the university, she could have gone many places, she choose the University of Tennessee."

"Appalled isn't the right word for it. I'm angry, and I'm going to take action," Lohmueller said.

And action is what UT officials say they are taking to tackle the heatwave, adding fans to the rooms.

"We've set up sleep arraignments in air conditioning and given advisories over there. We're moving students that want to move to air conditioning facilities. We're in the process of moving those," said Kenneth Stoner from UT Student Affairs.

Hope is one of seven girls now on the move from Strong Hall. Mary Anne says it took her calling UT officials to get the change, and now she says her work on campus isn't finished.

"She isn't my only concern. There are 200 other girls staying in Strong Hall," Lohmueller said. "It shouldn't have to come to this."

"We shouldn't have to put up with these types of condition. They are are subhuman. No one should have to deal with that, especially people paying money to an institution," Lohmueller said.

Mary Anne says the university has agreed to pay Hope's medical expenses. UT officials say anyone wanting to change rooms can do so by applying in their current residence hall.

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  • by TooHOT Location: College on Aug 30, 2007 at 10:31 PM
    If what you have to say does not improve the silence. You should not break the silence. No one said the University could control the weather but the college needs to maintain a certain level of safety for its students. I dont consider air conditioning to be overpampered. The college provides heat in the winter so why not air in the summer/fall?
  • by GetOverIt Location: Maryville, TN on Aug 30, 2007 at 12:44 PM
    How ridiculous! Many people live in homes without A/C and the temps have reached over 100. If you grow up poor that's the way it is... The university has no control over the weather, and these "young adults" should be smart enough to take care of themselves by buying fans/staying cool/etc. I think you're expecting too much -- providing A/C isn't part of UT's job. How overpampered can you get?
  • by Emelie Schneeman Location: Cincinnati, Ohio on Aug 29, 2007 at 01:44 PM
    I am Hope Lohmueller's cousin and while i am very concerned about her health and i love her VERY much i would like to say that Students at UT arent the only ones suffering. According to the "UT mom" that posted on here they are providing box fans. i go to wilmington college in ohio and we have 3 fans in our room NONE of which were provided by the school. My room mate sleeps with her friend in college owned air conditioned apartments. I sleep in the room. Believe me. its TERRIBLE. I personally think in this day and time it should be acceptable for people to expect that their rooms will be airconditioned. It was my choice to live here and my resposiblity to be safe in the heat but airconditioning shouldnt be out of the question especially for a private school. i'm sorry that my cousin suffered and i hope no one else suffers the way she did. What a champ. Good luck to everyone at UT. Stay cool. and drink a lot of water!
  • by UT mom Location: Nashville on Aug 27, 2007 at 10:27 AM
    I have a daughter living in Strong Hall. The school is claiming that they are "doing all that they can by providing box fans". The truth is that they have done very little to provide any comfort to these students. After a student was sent to the hospital with a heat stroke, the HOSPITAL sent cots for the students to use wherever they could find a cool spot to sleep. My daughter slept on the floor in a lounge the first three nights until the cots were provided. She is trying to adjust to being away from home and family and would like to settle into her own room. Instead she is being forced to live in "shelter" type conditions. How are these students supposed to be rested and prepared for class?
  • by Lauren Location: UT campus on Aug 26, 2007 at 12:10 PM
    Strong Hall was slated to close in 2002-2003 but didn't -- WHY?? Could it be because UT accepts more students than housing can safely house? It seems they put all those students at risk with the hope nothing would happen until Hess was built!!
  • by Graysi Location: Strong Hall on Aug 25, 2007 at 09:06 PM
    I'm from Alabama and chose to come to UT this year because when I visited I absolutely fell in love with Knoxville. Little did I know I would be living in a room which was nearly one-hundred degrees. I have barely eaten since I got here, suffering from loss of appetite due to the sweltering heat, and it seems that no matter how much water I consume I remain consistently dehydrated. I knew I was going to have to make an extreme transition, in terms of meeting people, moving from home, and becoming used to college life; however, I never expected to have to make a transition of living with no a/c. I have tried whole heartedly to maintain a "I'll tough it out" type attitude, but it seems to be getting hotter and hotter. I sleep with ice in my pillow case and holding ice packs (definitely without cover.)Each time I want to cool off with a cold shower .trick is that its so hot that we rarely have cold water. The plus to the situation is meeting people, we surely all have sumthing to talk abt.
  • by Ann Location: Knoxville on Aug 25, 2007 at 11:52 AM
    This situation is absolutey unacceptable. I now feel guilty that my son lives next door to Strong Hall at Clement Hall in air-conditioned comfort. Why did UT spend over 7 million dollars on Hess Hall when two dorm halls remain un-airconditioned? Someone at UT needs to be held accountable for this.
  • by ricky Location: strong on Aug 24, 2007 at 10:36 PM
    my daughter is a student.she suffer with allergies and I asked the dept of housing head could I buy her a small air conditioner, hetold me know that the students could not have one in their rooms. my daughter said a lot of them have been sleeping in the lobby area, trying to keep cool in front of the air conditioners down there. I bet the guy who is over housing is not sitting in a hot office. there answer is get a fan. my child have a couple of fans in their room, but when it is this hot, they are only blowing hot air.
  • by flora Location: strong on Aug 24, 2007 at 09:53 PM
    UT should be ashamed putting those kids health at risk. they want our money, but want to treat our kids worse than they treat some animals. It is cruel and cold hearted. It is 2007, there should not be any school without air, especially ones you have to pay to attend. they are going to mess around and someone will die and they will get sued. I asked about getting a small air conditioner for my daughters room, I was told she could not have one. she can sign up for a transfer but she will be put on a waiting list.
  • by Erica Location: Strong Hall ay UTK on Aug 24, 2007 at 05:44 PM
    As a student and resident of Strong Hall, I can say first hand that seeing someone suffering from a heat stroke is one of the scariest things I've ever seen. Not only is it scary to see someone go through that it is was even scarier that no one in the office was willing to help. Another girl and myself had to run upstairs to get our RA. As freshman in this university we had to take it upon ourselves to find ways to cool her down. We didn't know what the student hospital was let alone how to get there. This brought me to the realization to how vulnerable we are to the heat. Over the past week along with my hallmates we have succumb to consistent dehydration and loss of appetite. The only way that we can escape the heat is to camp out in lounges with 30 other suffering girls and finding refuge in air conditioned rooms around campus throughout the day.
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